Second-year Bucs DT Brian Price revealed that he has just begun to jog and was unable to say with any certainty that he would be ready for Tampa Bay's 2011 training camp after radical pelvic surgery. Price also didn't deny that he could be a candidate to start the season on the PUP list.
BRADENTON – Second-year Bucs defensive tackle Brian Price tries to put on a brave face when discussing his rehab from surgery to repair a torn hamstring and damaged pelvis that caused him to go on injured reserve after notching just six tackles and one tackle for loss in five games during his rookie season.
“It’s going well,” Price said. “I’ve just been rehabbing and trying to get right. There is no timeline when you are going through something like this. I don’t know when I’ll be ready, but when I’m ready everybody will know pretty much.”
The first of two second-round picks from a year ago, Price attended the Bucs voluntary, unofficial mini-camp at the IMG Performance Institute in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, but was limited to just lifting weights and watching the action from the sidelines. Although he had surgery last year, the procedure Price had done was quite radical and involved using screws to fasten his hamstring to the bone as well as attaching the pelvic bones themselves.
“They said I was the first person in the NFL to have anything like it,” Price said. “I have two screws on each Tubersity of Ischium. I got the X-ray and when you look at it, it’s like, ‘How are you walking right now?’ They screwed my bones together. I’m like Iron Man right now.”
Price’s X-ray may look like something right out of a Marvel superhero comic, but the slow, painful rehabilitation from an injury that began in college and his surgerical procedure appears to have the UCLA product’s participation in training camp – and perhaps even at the start of the season – in doubt.
When asked if his goal is to be ready for training camp, which would start in one month if the lockout were lifted, Price dodged the question just like he tries to avoid offensive linemen on the way to sack the quarterback.
“Man, my goal is to be ready for the Hall of Fame,” Price said. “I’m trying to go to the Hall of Fame one day. This is something to add to my story. This is just another chapter in a book that every great player goes through. It’s easy to fold right now, but it takes a champion to fight through something like this. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude. I’m fighting and working.
“I just started jogging not too long ago. That was like a big, big improvement and a big step forward. Being able to jog and flip heavy tires – those are some of the things I’ve been able to do just now. I’m sore the next day, though. I haven’t done any on-field stuff yet, but that’s coming next. I’m just taking it easy.”
With Price being limited to just jogging and not doing any on-field defensive tackle-oriented drills, it is a far cry to suggest he is ready for the rigors of training camp right now. In PewterReport.com’s opinion after talking to Price, starting the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and missing the first six games of the year does not seem out of the question.
When asked if he was a candidate to be placed on the PUP list to start the 2011 season, Price was non-committal.
“I don’t know,” Price said. “I’m just taking it day by day. I’m getting better. It’s mind over matter. Words have power. Whatever you think can come true can. I just fight through the pain. Sometimes I feel it. Sometimes I don’t. In my head I’m getting better. You just have to weather the storm. At the end of the day I know I’ll be great. If I give up now … it’s easy to give up. It’s always harder to fight. My hip, back, hamstrings – the pain hits me everywhere.”
Listed at 6-foot-1, 303 pounds, Price has put on some weight that he has to lose before he gets back into playing shape. Although he didn’t reveal how much he weighs, Price looked heavier on Tuesday at IMG than he did last year and said that he needs to work on his conditioning.
“I’m trying to be in the best shape ever – like a boxer,” Price said. “I look at those guys and I’m a real ways off. The way to get into football shape is to do football drills. I haven’t been able to do any of those things. I’ve been able to jog and that’s it. You have to be tough to be able to fight through the pain. Anybody can do these [football] drills, but I have to deal with pain on top of that, which slows me down.”
Although he has packed on some pounds around his midsection, Price has clearly added some muscle to his upper body with his arms and shoulders looking significantly bigger than they were a year ago.
“When I first had surgery, I was in the weight room a couple of weeks later just doing upper body,” Price said. “I’ve been doing mostly upper body, but I just started to do lower body exercises like leg press a few weeks ago and some hamstring curls. It’s getting better and better and I’m getting stronger and stronger. It’s just taking some time.”
With the radical surgery that Price underwent, the Bucs were hoping to have him ready for training camp so that he and last year’s first-round pick, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, could form a one-two punch inside in the starting lineup. Instead, it looks as if Roy Miller will continue to start at nose tackle as Price’s rehab continues.
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